The Gravity of the Ebola Situation

By Grace Masback

WANT Original Content

Three months ago. no one cared about Ebola. It was something happening to some people in Africa about which the vast majority of adults, and certainly most teens, were blissfully unaware. Recently, things have changed. When an American doctor contracted Ebola and the first case was contracted in the US, the American public really began to pay attention. People finally began to care and panic ensued — not for the thousands being infected daily in West Africa, but for the the one or two Americans. That said, most teenagers still haven’t grasped the gravity of the situation. As the number of cases spreads toward the predicted 10,000 cases per week, we need to take a look at teenagers’ seemingly nonchalant attitude towards Ebola and address what can be done to promote a change in attitude about this issue for society as a whole.

Most teens have yet to take a stand on this important issue. We talk about ebola flippantly, saying incredibly thoughtless and insensitive things like, “Where’s Maggie today? She probably has Ebola.” These jokes are not only rude, but completely inappropriate. Teens need to grasp how dire this situation has become. When we hear insensitive jokes from our classmates about ebola, and it’s not OK to laugh about the situation. People are dying. Teenagers just like us. Though the distance to West Africa makes the whole tragedy less tangible, ebola is impacting people who deserve both a voice and respect.

Why don’t we reverse this trend? Teens have power. We are constantly connected through texts, social media, our friends, and the internet. By using this power we can raise awareness instead of making jokes about such a serious topic. We can use our connectedness to spread the word about the gravity of the situation in West Africa and what individuals can do to help. Talk to your friends, siblings and parents. Spread awareness and increase knowledge about this disease that has killed more than 4,493 people and continues to spread. Stop using #ebola as a joke and use it for good.

For more information and ways to help/donate check out the following websites:

About Grace Masback

Grace Masback, 17, aspires to give voice to the voiceless and holds the modest ambition of becoming the voice of Gen Z. Frustrated by the dearth of impactful platforms for teen journalists, she founded WANT, a news, sports, and entertainment website that aggregates the best in high school journalism from school newspapers and teen bloggers around the world (

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